On Lynn Terrace: (1879)

ALL day to watch the blue wave curl and break,
All night to hear it plunging on the shore, —
In this sea-dream such draughts of life I take,
I cannot ask for more.
Behind me lie the idle life and vain,
The task unfinished, and the weary hours;
That long wave bears me softly back to Spain
And the Alhambra’s towers!
Once more I halt in Andalusian pass,
To list the mule-bells jingling on the height;
Below, against the dull esparto grass,
The almonds glimmer white.
Huge gateways, wrinkled, with rich grays and browns,
Invite my fancy, and I wander through
The gable-shadowed, zigzag streets of towns
The world’s first sailors knew.
Or, if I will, from out this thin sea-haze
Low-lying cliffs of lovely Calais rise;
Or yonder, with the pomp of olden days,
Venice salutes my eyes.
Or some gaunt castle lures me up its stair;
I see, far off, the red-tiled hamlets shine,
And catch, through slits of windows here and there,
Blue glimpses of the Rhine.
And now I linger in green English lanes,
By garden-plots of rose and heliotrope;
And now I face the sudden pelting rains
On some lone Alpine slope.
Now at Tangier, among the packed bazaars,
I saunter, and the merchants at the doors
Smile, and entice me: here are jewels like stars,
And curved knives of the Moors;
Cloths of Damascus, strings of amber dates;
What would Howadji . . . silver, gold, or stone?
Prone on the sun-scorched plain outside the gates
The camels make their moan.
All this is mine, as I lie dreaming here,
High on the windy terrace, day by day;
And mine the children’s laughter, sweet and clear,
Ringing across the bay.
For me the clouds; the ships sail by for me;
For me the petulant sea-gull takes its flight;
And mine the tender moonrise on the sea,
And hollow caves of night!
Thomas Bailey Aldrich.